Japan’s foreign minister warns against China’s maritime activities in policy speech


Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida warned against China’s increasing maritime activities, such as artificial land construction in the South China Sea, in his policy speech before the Diet on Friday.

“Any unilateral attempts, such as land reclamation, to (support validity of its territorial claims) cannot be accepted,” Kishida said at a plenary meeting of the House of Representatives.

Japan will resolutely and calmly respond to China’s unilateral resource development in the East China Sea and territorial intrusions near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, Kishida said. China claims the Japanese-administered islands, which it calls Diaoyu.

As host to a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven major industrialized countries in Hiroshima Prefecture in April and a G-7 summit in Mie Prefecture in May, the Japanese government will contribute to resolving global issues and carry out strategic diplomacy, he said.

Kishida stressed, “As the world’s only atom-bombed country, Japan is resolved to lead global efforts for arms reduction and nonproliferation in order to realize a world without nuclear weapons.” He hails from Hiroshima, one of the two western Japan cities that suffered U.S. nuclear attacks in 1945 at the end of World War II.

While noting that Japan’s bilateral relationship with China is improving, Kishida criticized Beijing’s maritime activities in the South China Sea as unilateral actions that could increase regional tensions.

Japan will continue efforts to maintain a stable maritime order through cooperation with its G-7 partners, he added.

On North Korea, Kishida said Japan will take resolute steps for fresh sanctions against the country over its recent nuclear test, in addition to those based on a U.N. Security Council resolution.

He also said that Japan will not close its door to dialogue with North Korea on the issue of abductions of Japanese nationals by the reclusive state.

Also in the speech, Kishida said Japan aims to take its relationship with South Korea into a future-oriented new era by steadily implementing a landmark bilateral agreement reached last month to finally and irreversibly solve the issue of wartime “comfort women” in South Korea, who were forced into prostitution for Japanese troops in the 1930s and 1940s.

Thanks to the national security legislation enacted by the Diet in September last year, the Japan-U.S. alliance is more solid than ever before, he noted. The security laws allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, or coming to the aid of an ally under military attack.

The foreign minister also showed his resolve to realize the planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Funtema base in a congested area of Ginowan in Okinawa Prefecture to a coastal area of Nago, another Okinawa city, as early as possible.

In addition, Kishida stressed that he will make efforts for progress on a long-standing territorial dispute with Russia over four Russian-held northwestern Pacific islands.

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